11 Finest Practices for Profitable Video Conferencing
While video conferencing companies have come a long way in just a few weeks, we all need to learn a lot about how video conferencing can be made more engaging and productive – and less stressful for employees.
To help you along the way, we have a short list of 11 most important tips and tricks To keep the overview, compiled from our recent experience with customers and our decades of holding meetings of all kinds for managers and teams.
11 Best Practices for Successful Video Conferencing
1. Recognize that virtual meetings are actually different from face-to-face meetings and require a different approach.
Video conference attendees do not have the luxury of making occasional calls before the meeting and cannot easily grasp verbal queues and body language during the discussion. In general, it is also much more difficult to share a point of view or to know when a moderator needs to be interrupted for clarification. All of these challenges need to be included in the overall approach of a video meeting.
2. Plan important support materials in advance.
Video conferencing often requires planning ahead to be successful. This means setting the agenda in advance and communicating it to all participants. You can also provide background materials such as lectures, diagrams or graphics. Finally, make sure that you send login information (access codes, URLs and dial-in numbers) in good time, preferably via a calendar invitation.
3. Provide a dial-in option for employees who cannot access their laptops.
While it is preferable that everyone uses the same format for a meeting, it is important for people with last minute conflicts or other problems to secure a phone.
4. Be quick.
The moderators should arrive at the meeting at least five to ten minutes before the actual start time to test the technology and ensure that everything is ready for use.
5. Assign a moderator.
All virtual meetings require a specific moderator so that the meeting runs smoothly. This can be the main moderator or another person who works closely with the leader. The moderator can provide important materials and search for questions through chat functions or other technical queues on the meeting platform. The moderator can also address any technical issues that may arise for the participants during the meeting.
6. Set clear goals for the meeting.
While this is always a best practice for each meeting, it is particularly important for virtual meetings because participants cannot be on site to view written agendas and do not have time to ask preliminary questions about meeting goals.
7. Consider an icebreaker.
Invite small group employees to share a few introductions before starting the meeting business. This puts everyone in touch right from the start and sends a signal that everyone who calls is an important part of the discussion.
8. Adhere to fixed time frames and do not overload the participants with too many goals.
Nobody enjoys sitting through long meetings, but paying virtual attention is even more difficult. Set and stick to a clear start and end time for the video meeting. Also work to limit the number of problems or concerns you want to discuss so everyone can focus on the task.
9. Offer several options for engagement and questions.
Video attendees may be tempted to switch to listen-only mode or simply mute the entire meeting. Employees who are more reserved or calmer find it too tiring to speak up or may feel uncomfortable giving an opinion. To avoid this dynamic, presenters can ask questions to specific employees or offer all employees several options for asking points or questions using the chat function.
10. Ask certain employees to contribute to parts of the meeting in advance.
When other team members make certain parts of the meeting easier, opportunities for new perspectives and greater engagement of the entire team automatically arise.
11. Don't be afraid to tackle difficult or controversial issues.
While it can be tempting to limit unpleasant discussions until everyone can be together in person, this isn't always possible, especially during a pandemic. Executives can help set the tone by saying that they value contributions to the critical issues of the day and by inviting certain team members to share their insights. While some employees may need more time to warm up, it is a long way to see that the leader clearly values the discussions.
Try this today: Practice advice from organizational psychologists
In addition to the tips we just shared, I wanted to add another great new idea that I heard in a podcast with organizational psychologist Adam Grant and one of his guests, Jane Dutton, professor of business administration and psychology at the University of Michigan. Dutton provided helpful tips to ensure that video participants felt better connected at the beginning of the video conference.
"People are fed up with the same old "how are you?" Question – You know, this kind of serious first question, especially when you are in a zoom meeting like a team meeting, ”Dutton said to Grant. "Let me give you an example of something I did instead," said Dutton. “When people prepared for my lesson, it was the first time I saw them (since the pandemic started). There were 70 people on the zoom call and I asked them to write a word in chat about what they were feeling. Then I had a minute's silence, inviting people to read what others were saying. In this way we were able to present ourselves to each other right from the start. First moments are important whenever we come together. "
Better video conferencing is critical for businesses today
As has become increasingly clear in recent weeks, video conferencing remains an outstanding form of communication for managers and teams. Of course, there will still be an important need to meet in person, and many of us hope to do more of it soon, whenever it is safe.
But even after the pandemic ends, it is a skill that all leaders need to focus on to motivate their teams and keep them in touch with the company.
What would you add to this list as one of the best ways to make video conferencing more effective and engaging for employees today?
– –David Grossman
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